Monday, December 29, 2008

Chestnuts and Rockettes 12/29/008

My mother and step-dad took me (and later me and my half-sister from their union) to see the Rockettes in New York City every year around Christmas time. Radio City Music Hall was grand and glorious-- with impressive stairways leading up to the bathrooms and balcony seats. The Rockettes themselves were beautiful and they were my first exposure to dancing in-sync.

We also went to watch the ice skaters and see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Square. My step-dad would stop at one of the street vendors to purchase a brown paper bag of roasted chestnuts. He was rather fond of them I remember. I like them also.

My dad used to take me to the parades in New York City. I remember one in particular-- being young enough to sit on his shoulders so I could see the floats. We also watched the Macy Day parades on teevee when we didn't go see them. He also took me to a football game once. The guys in front of us had a bit too much beer and a fight broke out between them.

My mother always had a fake green tree. Dad's tastes ran to silvery and so his tree was more sparkly.

One of Dad's sisters used to have us over for Christmas dinner and she made lasagna. When I was little I refused to sit at the kids' table in the kitchen. As I got older though, the presence of two younger cousins who had grown up down south made that table attractive to me and fun.

sapphoq on life

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chemistry Set and Christmas

One year, my dad got me one of those Gilbert Chemistry Sets for Christmas. My mother threw it out with all of the other presents from my dad as usual.

Dad was given visitation on Sundays, a two week summer vacation option, and holidays.
Sometimes the holidays didn't happen. My mother would go to the front door and mutter "sick" to my disappointed Dad and then he would leave. I wasn't sick. My mother was a fairly rude woman when it came to my dad. The idea of calling him to say don't come today because spike is supposedly sick was not an option ever.

I left my mother's house when I was 17 to go live with my dad after a particularly vicious public beating (which led to her being banned for life from a nearby town) and that Christmas my dad had insisted that I buy Christmas gifts for my mother and deliver them. "She's still your mother," he told me, demonstrating a courtesy that he held for her in spite of her spitefulness throughout the years. I was still fairly traumatized from the events which had preceded my leaving. I snuck into the house with my key and left a bunch of presents on the radiator in the hallway. I didn't call my mother until almost a year later.

I called my dad today to wish him a Happy Christmas. He in turn questioned me as to my intentions regarding my mother and extracted a promise from me that I would call her today. I grumbled to myself a bit. This is my elderly dad who has been divorced from my mother for many years, who endured things at the hands of my mother that no living being had to endure. He wanted me to call her.

Yes, I called my mother today. I wished her a Happy Christmas and inquired as to the well-being of my half-sister (who does not pick up the phone when I call there) and her growing family. Two strangers talking at a bus stop. Some things don't change.

My mother is a very sick woman. She has always been spiteful, always played head games, always had a serious mean streak. My mother is a woman of violence. Only in my own journey leading to adulthood have I been able to protect my self from her abusiveness. I am sorry that she may be a product of her environment, sorry that she may be active still in her addictions, sorry that she is getting old now and that our relationship cannot heal. I no longer have to sacrifice my well-being for an adult whose own deficiencies demand such a sacrifice. Nor will I. This is not about forgiveness. My mother is not asking my forgiveness. This is about my life and my disengagement from that which threatens to kill me.

sapphoq on life